Duncan Macmillan (art historian)

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Duncan Macmillan, FRSA, FRSE, HRSA,[1] elder son of William Miller Macmillan, is a Scottish art historian, art critic, and writer. He is a holder of MA, AcDipAH, PhD Hon., LLD.


Born in 1939, and educated at Gordonstoun School, he obtained his MA degree at the University of St Andrews, his Academic Diploma at the University of London, and his PhD at the University of Edinburgh. He is also an honorary graduate of the University of Dundee. Macmillan is Professor Emeritus of the History of Scottish Art at the University of Edinburgh, and former Curator of the Talbot Rice Gallery. Between 2008 and 2012 he was curator of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He is also art critic of The Scotsman.


His works include Painting in Scotland: the Golden Age (Oxford 1986), and Scottish Art 1460-1990 (Edinburgh 1990, enlarged edition Scottish Art 1460-2000, Edinburgh 2000),[2][3] This work has been called "perhaps the definitive statement on Scottish paintings" by Frommers Guides.[4] According to Cairns Craig, the book views Scottish art as emanating from public art practices of the Protestant Reformation.[5] The Times Literary Supplement considered that Macmillan was excellent on the Renaissance but later prone to "a certain unevenness". Nonetheless, the "TLS" praised his "intellectual underpinning" and treatments of William Quiller Orchardson and William McTaggart.[6] In 1991 this book won the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year award. Macmillan's works also include Scottish Art in the 20th Century (Edinburgh 1994, Scottish Arts Council Book Award), and most recently Scotland's Shrine: The Scottish National War Memorial, which is accompanied by a foreword by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (Lund Humphries, 2014).

Macmillan is author of monographs on Scottish and European artists, including Will Maclean, Steven Campbell, Elizabeth Blackadder, Victoria Crowe, and (with Tom Hewlett) of FCB Cadell,[7] as well of numerous catalogues, articles, essays etc., on British and European art and artists. His recent critique of the loss of intellectual and moral probity in the contemporary art world, entitled The Thought Police, appeared in Treason of the Scholars.[8]


In 2004 he was awarded the Henry Duncan Prize for his contribution to Scottish Historiography by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

In 2005 he was awarded the Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun Prize for his contribution to Scottish life by the Saltire Society.


  • Duncan Macmillan, Painting in Scotland: the Golden Age (Phaidon, 1986)
  • Duncan Macmillan, Scottish Art 1460-1990 (Mainstream, 1990)
  • Duncan Macmillan, Symbols of Survival, The Art of Will Maclean (revised edition 2002)[9]
  • Duncan Macmillan, Scottish Art in the 20th Century (1994)[10]
  • Duncan Macmillan, Elizabeth Blackadder (Scolar Press, 1999, ISBN 0754600637), on Scottish painter and printmaker Elizabeth Blackadder
  • Duncan Macmillan, Scottish Art 1460-2000 (Mainstream, 2nd edition, 2000, ISBN 1840182555)
  • Tom Hewlett and Duncan Macmillan, F.C.B. Cadell: The Life and Works of a Scottish Colourist 1883-1937 (Lund Humphries, 2011)
  • Duncan Macmillan, Victoria Crowe (Antique Collectors' Club, 2012), on Scottish artist Victoria Crowe[11]
  • Duncan Macmillan, Scotland's Shrine: The Scottish National War Memorial (Lund Humphries, 2014)


  1. ^ http://www.royalscottishacademy.org/royal-scottish-academicians/rsa-honorary-members/?member-interval=3
  2. ^ "Scottish Art 1460-1990". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  3. ^ Wright, Karen. "Bookmark". Modern Painters. 13 (1): 134.
  4. ^ "Scotland: Recommended Books, Films & Music". Frommers. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  5. ^ Craig, Cairns (2007). "Recovering History". In Caroline McCracken-Flesher. Culture, Nation, and the New Scottish Parliament. Bucknell University Press. p. 34.
  6. ^ Thomson, Duncan. "Scotland's best". Times Literary Supplement (London, England), Friday, 5 April 1991; pg. 23; Issue 4592.
  7. ^ Lawson, Julie (20 October 2012). "Victoria Crowe by Duncan Macmillan (review)". The Scotsman. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  8. ^ Treason of the Scholars, by Peter Goodfellow with contributions from David Starkey, Roger Scruton and Duncan Macmillan, Panter and Hall, London, UK (2015) ISBN 978-0-9933568-0-3.
  9. ^ Andreae, Christopher (8 February 1993). "The Archaeology of Memory". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  10. ^ "Strong showing underlines campaign for major gallery". Inverness Courier. 27 July 2007. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  11. ^ Taylor, Alan (20 July 2012). "Duncan Macmillan: Victoria Crowe (Antique Collectors' Club, £35)". The Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 18 February 2014.